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My budget is around £200 - £250 and I'm a little stuck with what to get. I am looking for something that obviously sounds really nice, however with this price range I'm probably looking for something 5 - 10 years old.
Could somebody maybe point out a good few keyboards that would be worth a look at?
If you are looking for secondhand stock, you'd need to keep an eye on local papers and possibly online dealers like Ebay for example.
These are now obselete models but you may find these secondhand around the place:
-Yamaha P80 (1999 version)
-Yamaha P60, P120, P70
-Yamaha P140, P85 (these are current models)
-Yamaha NP30 (You could get one of these brand new for less than 200GBP).
-Roland RD600 or RD700
-Try tracking down Technics brand stage pianos. The company has ceased production but they are still in circulation and some of them have a good action and decent piano sound.
-M-Audio Pro Keys
-Yamaha DGX-520, 530 - not as convinced about these in terms of sound power/output...
None of these are particularly outstanding but unfortunately, in that budget even secondhand, you will likely get what you pay for.
Ideally, try to track down a Yamaha P200 or P250 - these are decent and have a quality keyboard action! I have played both in a church context. I'd really encourage you to try and track some of those down however and try for yourself!
The models that you listed are they classed ok/good models? Maybe you could list the top 3/5 that I could be looking at...
These keyboards have some kind of weighted/hammer action keyboard and a decent set of sounds, though not containing a vast library of them!
BEST FOR YOUR MONEY:
"Kurzweil SP88X (if you can get is second hand!)
*M-Audio ProKeys 88 88-Key Hammer Action
OKAY BUT NOTHING OUTSTANDING FOR YOUR PURPOSES:
Yamaha P200 (this is still okay but piano sound not as good as its successor the P250)
*Yamaha P140 (This could be find if tweaked through your desk. A P70 may be okay too if you are using a sound system)
Korg SP250 (has a good touch but weak/unrealistic piano sound)
*These are current models and can be bought brand new, but you will need to look for secondhand/shop demo models in order to find one in your budget.
There are other models I can think of like the Yamaha MOTIF or Roland RD700XS, but they are too still too new or too cutting-edge at the moment to fall into the budget you have given me. Other good models would be the Yamaha CP33, CP300 but again, still too expensive, even at second hand.
By all means, see if you can get any of those latter examples, but you'll be hard pushed, even with Ebay's help!
On eBay I can pick up a M-Audio ProKeys 88-88 without the Key Hammer Action for about £220+ how crucial is the Hammer Action? (Is this different to weighted keys?)
With the Key Hammer Action I'm looking at £320+
And are M-Audio a good brand, will it last me for a good few years if looked after?
The SX features most of the sounds of the original Prokeys, but there are some sounds missing from the ProKeys 88 - 88-Key Hammer-Action Premium Stage Piano such as the second organ, strings, warm pad, two basses and a cymbal, as well as the option to layer/split sounds - that is a feature worth considering!
It really depends on you and your budget. For the money you want to spend 320GBP is not bad really. Unfortunately, in digital equipment, you do get what you pay for and I think the previous paragraph explains why the SX model is 100GBP cheaper. At the end of the day, it's your call!
In response to your second question, M-Audio is a decent make - it is somewhat of an under-rated brand. It is not as good as a Yamaha CP33 or a Kurzweil SP2X but it's not trying to be either! Bear in mind what I said before; if money was not an option, I would be advising you towards Yamahas and Rolands if you wanted the best model going, but your money won't stretch this length. The M-Audio is a better compromise that going for a cheap Yamaha for example. It is sophistication in a compact package. The ProKeys 88-Key Hammer-Action Stage Piano is more robust that the SX too, so if you are wanting to gig with it or even if you are just taking it to and from church services, the hammer action one is probably a safer bet too for durability.
This link helps you sample the 14 voices:
This is a review from the "SOS" website which reviews the keyboard quite throroughly. I noticed some of the points I made in my previous posting:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr06/a ... keys88.htm
By the way, at a quick glance online, the cheapest Yamaha (brand new) is the P70 at around 350GBP. I also noticed Yamaha P250 but this is sitting at 450GBP on Ebay! Cheapest SP88X from Kurzweil 499GBP. These are better models but you can see why I haven't made too much mention of them
I was trying to track down a Kurzweil PC88/88MX but failed miserably.
It is not a heavy keyboard (about 20kg?) so that also supports the portability aspect of things. I was going to suggest that you look at a Casio Privia PX-800 but its speakers and pedal come integrated with a stand so no point.
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